CULTURE

Why "Percy Jackson" Is Better than "Harry Potter"

If you only know Percy Jackson from the mediocre movies, you're missing out.

Recently it was announced that a new live-action series based on Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians will soon be coming to Disney+.

For people born after 1997, this is a big deal, but some older folks don't quite get the hype. For those who didn't grow up with the books, Percy Jackson largely refers to two mediocre movies that came out in the early 2010s.

But the series has a lot more to offer than those movies would suggest. So if you need a quick rundown of why this new show is worth getting excited for, you should consider the possibility that Percy Jackson might actually be better than Harry Potter...

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TV News

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino Sentenced to 8 Months in Prison on Tax Evasion Charges

The Jersey Shore star admitted to concealing income from the Internal Revenue Service in January.

Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino was sentenced to eight months in prison on charges of tax evasion in federal court on Friday.

The reality star, 36, pleaded guilty in January to one count of tax evasion for hiding income from the Internal Revenue Service and falsifying documents. Sorrentino's brother, Marc, was sentenced to two years on similar charges.

Shortly after the premiere and subsequent popularity of Jersey Shore in 2009, the brothers established several companies through which they sought to capitalize on Sorrentino's sudden fame. According to indictment documents, companies including Situation Nation, Inc., Situation Productions, and GTL Management were used to facilitate product endorsements, book promotional and television appearances, broker brand partnerships, and even publish a comic book.

Sorrentino and his brother admitted to depositing income in increments of less than $10,000 in order to evade the attention of the IRS (banks are required to notify the Treasury of deposits larger than $10,000). They also pleaded guilty to using business accounts to pay for high-end luxury vehicles, jewelry, and clothing. In total, the brothers had earned almost $9 million from 2010 to 2013 that they failed to report or pay federal taxes on. Their indictment hearing took place just days before filming of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation was to begin in Miami. Though the sentencing was originally scheduled for April, Judge Susan Wigenton postponed it so Sorrentino could appear on the show.

The SorrentinosNY Daily News

Prosecutors sought a sentence of 14 months, while attorneys for the defendant requested probation, citing their client's recent recovery from substance abuse. Among those gathered to support Sorrentino at the Newark, New Jersey courthouse on Friday were his fiancé, Lauren Pesce, and Jersey Shore housemates Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio, Jenni "JWOWW" Farley, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Vinnie Guadagnino, and Deena Cortese.

"I'm hoping for positive results for him," said Polizzi in a previous interview with People. "He's full of life and energy."

When asked how his friend and castmate would handle time behind bars, Guadagnino said, "I think he would handle it better than a lot of people out there, just because his mind is very positive right now," he said. "He accepts everything and he takes everything one day at a time. He has all the tools to get through what he's going through."

In addition to prison time, Sorrentino's sentence includes $123,913 in restitution already paid, 500 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine.

Rebecca Linde is a writer and cultural critic in NYC. She tweets about pop culture and television @rklinde.


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MUSIC

Lauren Marsh: A Ukulele and the Voice of an Angel

After her Runaway Success with "Dear Love," Lauren Marsh Returns with a Single Full of Melancholic Nostalgia

"[It's] my way of saying thank you to the people who've been there for me, and while there may be some rough bumps along the way, things can always work out okay."

So says Lauren Marsh of her latest single, "Take Me With You (When You Go )." This songstress is one to watch. With her breakthrough single, "Dear Love," blowing up last year, she is currently launching her follow up, and it's an ode to a time gone by. With regards to her life so far, that's quite an ode to write. From the Jersey Shore through to NYC open mics, past collabs with Don McLean, Adam Duritz, Andy Grammer, Gavin DeGraw, and Howie Day, this girl has done a lot in the time given to her. This new offering maintains the quality of her work to date, and provides us with another ample serving of that which we know her best for. Heart.


At the core of the track is the ukulele, plucked persistently all the way through. The chord structure is simple enough, almost as if you're in the room with her as she is writing the song. It reflects a straightforward honesty, a no frills approach… at least to start. Once the song kicks in to high gear it overflows with melancholy and nostalgia, aching passionately for a past that has passed, unreclaimable, yet so easily and painfully within the reach of memory. The figure she sings to in her song, and toasts with a "here's to you", seems to be both one specific person, and everyone she ever knew at a point in her life. It speaks to the universality of looking at an old friend's picture and remembering every single happy memory with them, tainted by the knowledge that you can never see them in quite the same way again.

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